Sleepovers for an Almost 8 Year Old

Updated on May 24, 2013
A.H. asks from Boston, MA
14 answers

My son is almost 8 years old and kids in his class are having birthday party sleepovers. I did not grow up going to sleepovers nor did I have people over for sleepovers. I am not particularly fond of them because I like my child home with me every night. So far I have managed to have excuses to the parents for why he can't go to the sleepover. Even though these are his "good friends" I only know the parents casually. I know I am probably overprotective but nowadays with the things that can happen, I just like to go to bed knowing exactly where my child is especially since he is only almost 8 years old. How do other parents handle responding to sleepovers if they don't like sleepovers? Thanks.

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answers from Dallas on

I don't get it... let him have his sleepovers. He'll have fun, and he'll be fine. My daughter has been doing sleepovers for a few years now (she's 9).

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Miami on

I'm sorry that you feel this way. Sleepovers are so much fun and I remember LOVING the weekends because we had them all the time, starting in first or second grade.

I agree with Wild Woman. Be honest with your child AND the other parent. Let them know that you are just not comfortable with sleepovers yet, but that you would love to have your son join the fun. Offer to pick him up "late", around 9:00 or so. That way, he can play... have dinner... maybe watch part of the movie, but he's still sleeping at your house.

I suggest that you have an age in mind, though, where it's going to be OK. I would hate to see your child excluded from invites because he's "never available" and "never reciprocates".

We had three rules about sleepovers as kids:
1. My parent had to talk with the other parent and find out the "plan". If the "plan" changed, I had to call and let my parents know.
2. I had to call and say goodnight when we were "in for the night". This let them know that I was OK and having a good time.
3. I could call at ANY hour and they would come get me. I only had to do this once. I had a friend who had a HUGE dog and I was terrified of dogs at the time. Her mother knew this and still didn't make the dog sleep elsewhere and basically told me to "get over it. The dog has slept in here every night for ten years, you'll be fine." I called. They came and got me... and gave the mother an ear full about making me uncomfortable in their home.

If we didn't do #1 and #2, no more sleepovers for a month. It helped them sleep better.

Have you thought about inviting one of these families over for dinner and getting to know them better?

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on


Tell your son the truth. You are NOT comfortable with sleepovers. It really does work better than excuses. Tell him you don't know the family well enough and are not comfortable with him being anywhere else.

My kids were doing sleep overs at 3. All 3 of them - whether it was at a family member or friend/neighbor.

I'm sorry you didn't grow up with sleepovers...I have a TON of great memories from sleep overs. I personally think you are over-thinking it. Really. Let him go. Let him experience things you did not get a chance to experience.

Good luck!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

Let him have fun with his friends! Things are no worse today then 50 years ago. Today we have cable. That is the problem. You know the parents right. So let him enjoy one of the rites of childhood: a sleepover.
Do not project your fears to him.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Grand Forks on

How does your child feel about never getting to go to sleepovers? Don't let your own worries, fears or anxieties hold your child back from having normal childhood experiences. If you really have a hard time letting him go then at least offer to host some sleepover so he won't be completely left out.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I let my son go to his first when he was 8 and around the same time my daughter went and she was 11. For my daughters, I talked to the mom, asked very specific questions about what they would be doing, if they were going anywhere, what electronics were accessible in the house, where they would be sleeping, what they would be eating, etc. I felt good about what she told me. However, when I called around 8pm to check on her, the dad answered the house phone and told me the mom had taken them all to the mall. WTH? Technically, that was ok, she was with them, but she didn't TELL me that when I talked to her about what they were going to do. So it made me not trust them to tell me what they were doing.

My son was worse, even though I asked all the same questions, and they did stay home, his classmate had 3 OLDER brothers that picked on my son endlessly the whole time he was there. They showed him the dads stash of girlie calendars (not full on nudes thank God) and they ended up playing Call of Duty and a bunch of other "mature" level video games. When I picked him up in the morning, he practically RAN to the car and then started crying telling me what happened. I felt HORRIBLE! Needless to say, I told BOTH kids that they were not going to sleep overs any more and they BOTH were ok with it. They are now 10 and 13 and have not asked. My son did ask if a neighbor boy could spend the night once and I asked his mom and she flat out said, "he's not allowed to go to sleep overs". Pretty simple and it will probably work for you. No explanation is needed. Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

My kids started having sleep overs in first grade. If I don't want them to sleep over somewhere I just say no to the request, that simple.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I don't know. Our kids started sleeping over at friends homes before they started pre-K. As for acquaintances they didn't start that until later, maybe 1st or 2nd grade. I still had to meet the parents and know their home situation, if it was a pit or a pristine non-kid friendly place. I don't let them go where they have to sit still and be quiet nor do I want them to have crud rubbing off stuff onto their clothes.

If I don't know them at all I let the kids go over and hang out but make some sort of excuse like an early morning trip or something.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

My kids are already doing sleepovers, and have been for a couple of years. The boys will be 6 tomorrow and my daughter is 4.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

My oldest didn't have them (other than with grandparents, aunts and uncles) until age 9 because he had night terrors. My youngest started at age 7. I don't like them either because there isn't enough sleep on a "sleepover," but they are an important and normal part of childhood. Even my 16-year-old boy still does it. Before I allowed sleepovers I would explain about the night terrors. There were also times where I let them stay until 10:00 and then picked them up. On rare occassion, if I didn't feel comfortable with the family or the situation, I said we were "busy" or had other plans. Like one of the other posters we've told our boys they can call us at any time of the night if they need us to come pick them up.



answers from Boston on

I have 5 children and feel the same way. I have just always stated up front to my kids that we do not do sleepovers. If there was an overnight party I would let them go and stay late, then pick them up. Sometime even drop back off in the am. The kids don't really like it, nor do there friends, but they are not the parent in charge! I have had to deal with some pushy friends (and parents of said pushy friends) but I continue to stand my ground.



answers from Los Angeles on

If you really aren't comfortable letting him sleep there, tell him the truth about why. Don't lie to him or make up excuses.

You should still let him go to the parties though. Pick him up late - around 10 or 11 p.m. so he can have all the fun with everyone else. Have the mom call you when things are really winding down (not when the kids first get in their sleeping bags, but when they stop all the silly chatter and games) and go pick up your son. Let him bring PJs and either a sleeping bag or blanket to hang out in while they watch movies and stuff like that.



answers from Boston on

I am comfortable with sleepovers and one of my kids started them when he was 3. The others were later, at 6 and 7. That said, it's totally normal for some of their friends do not do sleepovers and it's no big deal. If I were you, I would just say "thanks, but we're not quite ready for that stage yet" and then if you're open to it, a nice alternative can be a mock sleepover. With a mock sleepover, the kids wear their jammies and get to do fun things like stay up late watching a movie and having popcorn, but then get picked up at a special late time (like 9 or 10 PM) and everyone sleeps at home in his or her own bed. It's a nice way for kids (or parents) who aren't ready for a full sleepover to be able to have the fun without the worry.



answers from St. Louis on

If you only know the parents casually - in passing at school, games, etc, I can see this being worrisome for you as I would feel the same.

My daughter has had occasionaly sleepovers (she's 5.5) at our goddaughters' hosue for the past year. However, we've known the parents going on 15 years.

That being said, I used to spend the night at my friends house ALL the time when I was 4-6th grade....only to find out LATER her step-sister was being sexually abused by her step-father. So even though that was going on in the house (the girl was 2 years older than me). He never tried anything with me. Not sure if this will make you feel better, worse or indifferent...just feel that I should share!

I think for my kids to attend sleepovers with friends of casual acquaintances (ie: school friends that I know the parents by name/from sports/class/etc) my kids will have to be old enough to feel comfortable if something is going on that they are uncomfortable with (watching a movie they know is not okay, playing Mature level video games, going outside/walking around the city at night/etc). I'd say 5th-7th grade if not older.

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